The se'athkyn are a Xaerin species that has remained in the shadow of the xeriin for many centuries. They are a tribal people that have the unique ability to manipulate their bones with magic, sometimes with terrifying speed. Se'athkyn culture consists of small groups that are based around five distinct tribes, each with their own cultural and physical differences. They are often esteemed warriors, and adhere to the hunter-gatherer way of life.
Average Lifespan:: 300-400 years
Average Height:: 6 feet
Average Weight:: 140 to 200 pounds
Location Found:: primarily in Xaeri.
*all statistics based on averages; extremes in any direction, or found in odd locations, are always allowed.
Alternate Names The se'athkyn people call themselves this because of their divergent history with humans; the name means 'spirit-kin' in their native tongue. However, others who do not know the Lai'sen language may call them 'bonecrafters' or 'bonedancers', names which the se'athkyn people find not only distasteful, but disturbing. Should an outsider refer to them by this name out of anything but ignorance, he or she will likely never be welcomed within any se'athkyn tribe again.
Guardian Spirits All se'athkyn have a coming-of-age rite once they reach adolescence, where the young are supposed to find their guardian spirit. These "spirit animals" are not necessarily the same animal their tribe holds in highest esteem, but those who get such guardians are considered extraordinarily gifted by the land. The spirit animal reveals itself to the individual during the trial of adulthood, and some find such a strong and immediate bond with their creature that they purposely reform their bones in various ways to imitate or praise their spirit guardians.
Diseases As the se'athkyn people are very unique in their biology, there are various diseases that they must be wary of. These diseases are listed below, along with their names and effects. All of these are unique to the se'athkyn people, and cannot be contracted or passed to other species.
Dn'aeilen, or "demon touched" in their native language, is a sickness that mutates the victim's bones. It's often caused by using their ability to control their bones too much and too often. Their bones grow odd mutations and do not grow the way the individual wants. This disease has no cure, and those afflicted may be driven from their tribes if the disease progresses too far to control.
Nkalithaes'ln is known as the rage disease; its name means 'anger known' in Lai'sen. The adrenaline produced when growing an individual's bones becomes addictive and causes them to go mad, often causing death in a berserker rage. This disease is also caused by the overuse of se'athkyn's unique power, though some think it may be an abnormality in the adrenaline itself for certain individuals.
Aii'reielan'n, known as the 'god-cursed' disease, is truly grotesque. It is believed that the gods cursed an individual afflicted with this disease so that their bones never stop growing. It is most commonly found in children, though some develop it at an older age; however, the uncontrollable growths are faster in older years.
Any se'athkyn mutated by disease or other issue are cast out from the tribe they lived within beforehand. If these outcasts have children who are not mutated or defective, then these children are then welcomed back into the tribe with open arms to be raised by another parent. Usually, this arrangement works well, since the life expectancy for those cast out is almost half of what it normally is and the afflicted parents will not attempt to reclaim a child given up.
No matter the disease, those afflicted rarely live past the age of 200. Because of this, se'athkyn are very careful in looking for the symptoms of these diseases. Often, because of these searches, bonetaint is found early on and dealt with swiftly, so there are few cases of it that have been reported. Usually, a strange paste is used to cure bonetaint in its early phases, though the recipe is a closely guarded secret and is slightly different in each tribe.
Species info credited to Verridith and Bucketorandomness.
Appearance Se'athkyn look remarkably like humans, albeit slightly taller, when they are not utilizing their bone-manipulating abilities. Most se'athkyn prefer to wear furs, primitive leathers, and tribal garb, often differing by what tribe they are a part of. All tribes enjoy employing bone jewelry, crafted either from their own bones or those of hunted prey. The differences in tribal appearance is detailed below. Inter-tribal mixes are not common, but not barred - therefore, features may be blended in certain individuals with mixed heritage.
Aldaiir: Associated with the sign of the eagle. These se'athkyn often have medium skin tones, bright eyes, and straight hair usually left to grow long. They use feathers and seashells in much of their clothing, with larger bird of prey feathers being restricted to tribal leaders and shamans beyond those more 'normal' members of the tribe. Their garb is often light throughout the year.
Fulaa: Associated with the sign of the bison. Those se'athkyn of the Fulaa tribe have medium to dark skin, and enjoy wearing light garb accentuated with tufts of fur and large animal bones. Their hair is most often worn very long, and they have sharp features with dark eyes. Some may, interestingly enough, grow bones in the shape of bison horns atop their heads as a permanent addition to their person. Through the year, their clothing changes from very little cover to thick furs and padding to protect against the cold.
Ler'taa: Associated with the sign of the caribou. A nomadic people of light to medium skin, similar features to those of the Fulaa tribe, though they often keep their hair much shorter; sometimes, their hair may curl and twist naturally atop their heads. They enjoy employing furs and leather in most of their clothing, and few can be seen without some sort of weapon on their person - often made from obsidian or other types of stone. Stone jewelry is also more common here than in other tribes, and can be mixed with bones or left alone as the maker wants.
Lorkain: Associated with the sign of the wolf. The Lorkain people are those that have the lightest skin of the se'athkyn people, and have hair of many colors; it has often been noted that Lorkain folk may even have subtle patterns in their hair, much like the wolves they live beside. As they live in the coldest climes, they are rarely without thick furs and heavy garb. Bones, often teeth from kills, are carried as trophies and given as gifts.
Scyz'to: Associated with the sign of the bear. Medium to dark skinned with thick, curly hair, they have brighter eyes and softer features than most of their brethren. They enjoy clothing that gives them camouflage, such as grasses and leaves, combined with the furs of beasts and hides of prey. Bone jewelry is much rarer, though bear claws are often given to high-ranking members of the tribe.
Culture Se'athkyn are a tribal hunter-gatherer people who live in small groups connected to five primary tribes. These tribes do not honor the gods - they view such gods as powerful, but unseemly, spirits - but worship the land and world they take from instead. The souls of both living and dead are revered, and everything in nature is said to hold the spirit of life within it. Despite their connection to bones, se'athkyn are not inherently connected with death; they are not necromancers of any sort and hold great respect for those that came before. To mess with a dead man's bones is considered unsanitary and a great taboo against the tribe as a whole. They view undead with significant distaste, and are quickly dispatched by any se'athkyn warrior who comes across one.
All tribes utilize bones and natural objects in trade and bartering, but they have and accept no currency nor respect any that do. Attempts at trading metal or unnatural trinkets results in extreme distaste, and a cessation of trading talks until the unsavory items have been removed.
The se'athkyn creation outside of the gods' influence has led to a number of unusual beliefs. As these people worship nature in its various forms instead of the Xaerin Three, many references are made to Mother Nature, Father Earth, Grandfather Sky, and others in their oral histories. Most se'athkyn detest xeriin for their total devotion to a trio of gods they believe to be discordant spirits instead of true deities, and frequently find conflict among the different tribes.
Each tribe also has its own cultural differences; these can be found below.
Aldaiir: Those se'athkyn that live along the sea shores and on islands bordering the ocean. They celebrate the spirit of the eagle, and are the most easygoing and accepting of the tribes. Groups of Aldaiir can be commonly seen venturing away from their homeland to trade, and are the most common of the se'athkyn to be found outside of Xaeri itself. Most are taught how to fish at an early age, and may utilize their bone-focused abilities to spear these for food for both themselves and others they may trade with. To harm or kill an eagle is a sin punishable by exile, and a hunter that takes eagle feathers, eggs, or prey from a living eagle is seen to have brought shame upon the entire tribe.
Fulaa: Those se'athkyn that live in the plains. They celebrate the spirit of the bison, and often move with the herds depending on season and weather. The warriors of the Fulaa se'athkyn are steadfast and strong, both esteemed hunters and stalwart guardians of their lands and those within them. They thank the spirits for every bison they kill, and use every part of the animal, leaving none to waste. However, as they are a great part of the Fulaa tribe's existence, groups will actively protect and seek to nourish the bison herds; their hunters make sure that they never kill pregnant or nursing cows, and drive off predators that would otherwise threaten the herds' existence.
Ler'taa: Those se'athkyn that live in the mountains. They celebrate the spirit of the caribou, and are one of the few tribes that create stationary buildings made of bone, stone, and wood. They are incredible craftspeople, and have prominent experience climbing and exploring. Thus, they have made several outposts across Xaeri's mountains that the tribal groups travel between when following the caribou, and watch not only for enemies of their people, but dangers to the herds and land itself.
Lorkain: Those se'athkyn that live arctic regions and harsh, snowy tundra climes. They celebrate the spirit of the wolf, and are known to be the greatest and most feared of the tribes' hunters. Their group hierarchy is much like the wolf itself - led by a pairbonded 'alpha' couple, and a close-knit family of se'athkyn. They are aggressively protective of both family and territory, and every member of each Lorkain group has a role to play. Wolves are revered by the people of this tribe, and they not only hunt alongside the canines, but help their injured and bring them food in times of need. Wolf bones are the most valuable thing one lorkain may give another - so long as that wolf was not slain by a se'athkyn, which is often punishable by severely enforced exile.
Scyz'to: Those se'athkyn that live in the forests and along rivers. They celebrate the spirit of the bear, and are a proud tribe of fierce warriors. They are irrevocably loyal, and will always come to the aide of an ally in distress, no matter their own tribe's state - to die in battle is a great honor, and those deceased warriors are often burned in great celebrations of their lost lives. The dead are believed to be returned to the spirits of the earth and sky, and their ashes are often spread among berry plants and alongside rivers to promote growth for the following year. Bears are protected by the Scyz'to tribe, and it is a common ritual of strength (among the younger members) to ride one at least once without getting hurt.
Abilities The main strength for any se'athkyn is their ability to manipulate their own bones in an often very painful process to create spikes, weapons, armor, and an assortment of other things. These bones will pierce skin, muscle, and tissue when manipulated, creative extravagant injuries that heal nearly instantaneously - but the healing process cannot be used for any injury not caused by their magic. Therefore, unless their abilities fail to act as they should, there is little to no blood in any of their transformations or manipulations.
However, se'athkyn may only manipulate the bones of themselves or - rarely - other se'athkyn, and may not utilize the bones of any other sapient or basic creature. The sheer amount of reiastu needed to make these physical changes leaves the se'athkyn vulnerable to running out of reiatsu entirely, and overtaxing to the point of death if used overlong. After prolonged use of this magic, a se'athkyn will need to enter a special trance to allow their bones to return to their original positions. Failure to enter this trance makes the chances of deformation extremely high, though such trances are not needed for small, everyday manipulations by older individuals.
When using this bone manipulation, se'athkyn receive an incredible dose of adrenaline to keep them conscious and working through the pain of their abilities. Over time, individuals can develop an insanely high pain tolerance due to the use of their magic, often more common in older individuals. Other than their bone manipulation, se'athkyn possess no other magic except for the occasional utilization of their spiritual energy.
It is said that of all the peoples of Xaeri, the se'athkyn are the oldest; springing from the ancient humans that were first brought to the world when the world was barely a decade and a half old. Though many of these early humans were taken by the Xaerin Three and crafted into the xeriin, a good number were not. These humans continued to struggle for over two hundred years against the wild nature of the Realm.
However, in that time, they became something more than human; somehow, these early peoples began to tap into the magic of the Realm itself. This latent energy began to change them fundamentally, shaping them mentally and physically, while granting them abilities no other humans had ever had before. This change was widespread, and affected every human left over from the xeriin creation - thus, it is looked at as a gift not from the gods, but from Xaeri itself.
This new people began to call themselves 'se'athkyn', a name that means 'spirit kin' in Lai'sen, believing that they shared a special connection with the spirits of the Realm. They disregarded the gods as divine, and instead turned to worshiping the land and its facets, ancestor spirits, and nature in all its forms. Certain individuals formed a special connection with the souls of animals, and five leaders emerged: Lorkain, Scyz'to, Fulaa, Aldaiir, and Ler'taa, who became the founders of the five great tribes.
Eventually, these tribes grew apart and moved to settle different areas, becoming largely different than their fellow se'athkyn. The five great tribes still exist today, and their legacy resonates with the history of Xaeri itself.
This species did not have an Ancient First.
Classification: sub-tribe spawned from psuedo-nkalithaes'ln individuals. Location: Xaeri.
There exists a tribe of mixed se'athkyn heritage that dwells far apart from the rest in northwestern Xaeri; these individuals are often referred to as the myskari, an idealistic branch once having been part of the tribes proper. These individuals were initially suspected of having nkalithaes'ln, and were preemptively cast out from their respective clans. However, as time wore on, it was made clear that they were not anger-known - simply strong-willed individuals who believed there were other ways to live their lives.
Most myskari wear clothing influenced by the warriors of other Realms, often accented with bone plate armor and weapons forged of their own bodies. They are commonly dark of skin and have bone growths from multiple parts of their bodies, utilizing their power for permanent, individualistic additions. Leaders and esteemed warriors of the myskari grow horns in various styles on their head - if others who have not earned such horns attempt to grow them, they will be sheared and will lose the right to honor for many years. Male myskari are shorter and slimmer than their female counterparts, likely due to their much-reduced roles and lack of battle themselves.
The myskari are led by a single matriarch at any given time; females are trained from a very early age in the art of warfare, while males are taught the everyday chores of cooking, cleaning, and other such tasks. Child rearing - once infants are old enough to be apart from their mothers - is left to the men, aside from battle training and the teaching of their culture and magic. If a female child is too weak, she may be sent with a myskari male to reintegrate with se'athkyn tribes that will allow them to, though these outcasts are rarely allowed to form families with their much different kin.
Myskari do not share the se'athkyn hatred of metal, and will commonly use it as a core to form strong bone armor or weapons that cannot be broken by normal means. Few, however, wear solid metal armor or wield only-metal weapons - to do so is considered a sign of weakness, and may end in exile or bloodshed.
Otherwise, myskari share all of the se'athkyn magic, though they are found to be less prone to all three se'athkyn diseases.